Crystal Growing Competitions

Education and outreach is a major component of the ACA's organizational philosophy. The ACA is committed to supporting educational and research experiences for everyone. It is through education and outreach activities that we will inspire the next generation of scientists and crystallographers.  One of the most fun ways to interact with future physicists, chemists and biologist are through our support of crystal growing competitions (pictured right: STARS Teammates from the Cobb County Crystal Growing Competition). These competitions assist students in learning about science, developing critical thinking skills and exercising their experimental skills by growing their own crystals!  


United States Crystal Growing Competition (USCGC)

The ACA has been a continued sponsor of the United States Crystal Growing Competition which is an important scientific outreach activity designed to provide K-12 grade students and teachers a fun, hands-on STEM experience as well as an exciting competition. The objective is to grow the biggest and highest quality single crystal.  This competition was founded and has been organized by Jason Benedict, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University at Buffalo and longtime ACA member.  


"2019 was a great year for growing crystals! Once again, thousands of kids in grades K-12 from all across the country were doing some hands on crystallization! Nearly 150 teams from schools and households in 33 states signed up for the 2019 U.S. Crystal Growing Competition (USCGC). Of course none of this would be possible without the tremendous efforts of the regional coordinators Fernando Uribe-Romo (University of Central Florida, UCF), Michael Nippe (Texas A&M University, TAMU), and Karah Knope (Georgetown University, GU), all their wonderful students, and mine too! And thanks to USCGC Assistant Tasha Benedict (University at Buffalo, UB), the contest was able to provide some of the best customer service yet to the participants!

-Jason Benedict-


Cobb County Crystal Growing Competition

This year we are excited to sponsor the Cobb County Crystal Growing Competition!  This crystal growing competition was founded and organized by Susanna Huang, a 2019 ACA Margaret C. Etter Student Lecturer Award who is joined by Prof. Ada Yonath, Nobel Prize Laureate for the discovery of ribosomal structure through x-ray crystallography.


The STARS mission: Inspire others and spur creativity. 

US Crystal Growing Contest 2019 - coolest crystal

Susanna Huang presenting at the 2019 ACA conference

Key Facts on the 2022 Cobb County Crystal Growing Competition:
  • This is a competition of experimentation and creativity
  • The competition is a fun and exciting STEM experience for all students
  • The contest can be either done in school or at home (very flexible)
  • This year they are hosting a virtual competition so students could experiment from the safety of their own homes
  • The best part: Free of charge!

Alum UV crystal - grown by Susanna

Tonic water UV crystal

Any student can register for this competition and detailed information can be found on the STARS website and in their promotional video!